Windows 8’s antivirus will play nice with third-party tools

For three years now, Microsoft has offered its own, free antivirus software—Security Essentials—as an alternative to third-party tools. The company is going one step further with Windows 8, building antivirus capabilities right into the operating system. What will that mean for commercial antivirus vendors?

The guys at Computerworld spoke to McAfee’s Gary Davis to find out, and it sounds like Microsoft is actually playing nice with third-party AV solutions. If one of those is installed and operational, Windows 8’s integrated virus protection will stay out of the way. On a pre-built PC with a pre-installed trial copy of, say, Norton AntiVirus or McAfee Internet Security, the built-in protection will only kick in when the trial runs out—or the user forgets to renew his subscription. Even then, users will get plenty of notice:

When the PC stops receiving AV signature updates — most likely because the trial version has expired — Windows 8 begins a 15-day countdown. During those 15 days, the Action Center, a desktop component that consolidates important system notifications, will warn the user that the AV software is expired, with information about how to renew coverage.
After the 15 days, the warning will expand the options offered users.

"At the end of 15 days the user has the option to renew what they have, install Windows Defender, select another option from the Microsoft Store or click on a ‘remind me later’ button, which starts a seven-day notice period," said Davis.

Davis suggests Microsoft’s strategy has less to do with pleasing antivirus vendors than with accommodating PC makers, for whom the bundling of software trials and demos is an important revenue source. "A large portion of their profits on PCs come from revenue associated with AV," said Davis. Blackballing third-party antivirus solutions might have had unpleasant antitrust implications, too, but the Computerworld piece doesn’t really get into that.

Personally, I’ve been a happy Security Essentials user for the past couple of years or so. If I upgrade to Windows 8, I think I’ll probably stick with the default protection rather than using third-party tools. I’ve often found commercial AV software to be slow, cumbersome, and slightly paranoid, which doesn’t encourage me to fork over money for a subscription—especially not if virus protection is available right in the operating system.

Comments closed
    • credible
    • 7 years ago

    I think it has more to do with all the lawsuits that they have faced through the years about media player and other “built-in” proprietary components.

    I have been a very happy user of Eset for years now, does a more then adeuate job and you don’t notice it.

    Once they went to a suite I was concerned, they did their own firewall fairly well and again its not noticeable, you can make it so though:)

      • Mystic-G
      • 7 years ago

      I been using eset for the past 5 years. I admire it being lightweight and silent for the most part. It’s done a really good job of catching threats. I can’t stand when I have to constantly be reminded I have an anti-virus like some others. My only legitimate complaint about it is that it doesn’t scan the registry. That’s why I also have Spybot S&D.

      I tried kaspersky for a day and despised how clunky it seemed in comparison. Kaspersky may have better protection, but Eset is suits me since I know what to click on and ‘try’ to idiot proof the rest of my PC for other people who get on.

      • albundy
      • 7 years ago

      NOD32 saved my @ss countless times! MS would have very large shoes to fill if it thinks of competing against it.

    • ch┬Áck
    • 7 years ago

    I work on a college campus and we use malwarebytes anti-malware, and that has found and fixed everything.

      • cheddarlump
      • 7 years ago

      That you know of.

        • Jigar
        • 7 years ago

        Exactly, i rely on MS SE and Malwarebytes – combo is good enough.

    • Kurotetsu
    • 7 years ago

    At this point, the only people who need to BUY anti-virus software are companies that need the advanced management and distribution that certain ones provide. For everyone, Security Essentials/Comodo/AVG/Avast/<insert_free_AV_software_of_choice_here> is more than enough. Personally, I continue to be impressed by how quiet and effective MS Security Essentials has been for me.

      • Madman
      • 7 years ago

      To tell the truth, unless you do stupid things, no AV is actually needed.

      The general rule is, don’t run different “Over nine thousand viruses have been detected on you PC, repair now!”, don’t use different exe’s from random sources, don’t click “Yes” in UAC unless you really trust software, and AV software is purely optional.

      If you do any of those, something like AVG is strongly recommended.

        • ludi
        • 7 years ago

        So, how many accidental clicks does it take to get pwned?

        You don’t have to be exploring dicey websites, either. My personal webspace was broken into a couple years back and had a tiny bit of malicious code appended to the front end of default.html — only about 400 bytes IIRC. The next time I accessed my website, it rootkitted an XP machine I was using at the time. Avast saw the incoming payload and tried to stop it, but no luck.

      • indeego
      • 7 years ago

      Just worked on a user’s home machine last week that had Essentials completely ignore a trojan. The Trojan disabled the MSE service, replicated the Essentials icon in the taskbar. User had no idea other than another unrelated Scareware Antivirus.

      I used Kaspersky/F-prot/Defender offline and none found it. Spybot Search and Destroy found it, however. It was wipe/reinstall anyway.

        • cheerful hamster
        • 7 years ago

        The nastiest virus I ever got was when I relied on MSE, a baddie that used my Yahoo mail account to spam everyone under the sun. O.o

          • indeego
          • 7 years ago

          Sounds like a simple XSS/javascript-born nasty. Blame your browser and yahoo.

            • cheerful hamster
            • 7 years ago

            So MSE wasn’t supposed to catch it?

            • indeego
            • 7 years ago

            There are exactly zero Antivirus/definition-based programs that will catch fly-by-night exploits. There are upwards of [url=http://www.forbes.com/2010/01/31/rsa-conference-cybercrime-technology-cio-network-malware.html<]40K malware samples introduced a day.[/url<] We're moving quickly in the whitelist realm here.

            • Kurotetsu
            • 7 years ago

            Its a browser exploit, so no. To defend against those you need a secure browser and/or plug-ins like NoScript (or just use common sense as Madman suggests).

        • cygnus1
        • 7 years ago

        that sounds like somebody clicked yes on something they should’ve known better not to

        • Master Kenobi
        • 7 years ago

        Any chance you kept the pieces of the malware or wrote down the name of it? I’d like to tear it down in IDA…

      • derFunkenstein
      • 7 years ago

      MS Security Essentials seems to choke for inordinate amounts of time on large (self-contained) EXEs and max out a thread on my PC. It sat for 15 minutes scanning a self-contained firmware update for my phone (T-Mo G2x) last night.

      Otherwise, I love it – it’s very lightweight and unobtrusive the rest of the time.

        • Firestarter
        • 7 years ago

        I’ve seen the same thing happening with large game updates. Otherwise it’s been fine.

      • Corrado
      • 7 years ago

      You’d be surprised how many people I run into that still pay for Norton or McAfee. They almost don’t believe me when I tell them that MSE is just as good and costs nothing.

        • eofpi
        • 7 years ago

        But does that say more about how far MSE has come or how far Norton and McAfee have fallen?

      • sonofsanta
      • 7 years ago

      Given how many malware scams masquerade as a paid-for AV solution, I find it easiest to tell people that they should never be paying for any AV protection, they are all scams, MSE is all you need.

      For enterprise, Forefront Endpoint Protection (i.e. MSE with management tools) seems to be one of the cheapest solutions out there anyway.

      I can’t pretend I’m not delighted that Norton might die.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This